The bottom line is clear: Our vital interests in Afghanistan are limited and military victory is not the key to achieving them. On the contrary, waging a lengthy counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group, help spread conflict further into Pakistan, unify radical groups that might otherwise be quarreling amongst themselves, threaten the long-term health of the U.S. economy, and prevent the U.S. government from turning its full attention to other pressing problems. -- Afghanistan Study Group

Monday, January 21, 2008

War News for Monday, January 21, 2008

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Multi-National Division - Center Soldier in a an improvised explosive device attack in Arab Jabour on Saturday, January 19.

MNF-Iraq is reporting the death of a Marine assigned to Multi-National Force - West while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province on Saturday, January 19.

The British MoD is reporting the death of a soldier in a roadside bombing three kilometers north east of Musa Qaleh, Helmand Province, Afghanistan on Sunday, January 20. Five other soldiers were wounded in the blast. You can read the ISAF statement here.

Security incidents:

#1: US warplanes overnight pounded suspected Al-Qaeda havens on the southern edge of Baghdad for the third time this month, hitting more than 30 targets in a 35-bomb blitz, the military said on Monday. The mainly Sunni Arab Jabour rural area was hit with bombs weighing a total of 19,000 pounds (9,000 kilogrammes) during the air raids, which aimed to destroy roadside bombs

#2: A roadside bomb detonated near a U.S. patrol in Baghdad's eastern neighborhood of Baladiyat, wounding three bystanders," the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity. The attack, which apparently missed the U.S. military vehicles, caused damages in several nearby shops, buildings and civilian cars, the source said.

#3: Another roadside bomb struck a U.S. patrol in the al-Nusour Square in western Baghdad, the source said. The source could not tell whether the patrols sustained any casualty in both attacks as the U.S. troops immediately sealed off the scenes, he added.

#4: Joint Iraqi and U.S. counterinsurgency raids Monday northeast of Baghdad resulted in two militants' deaths and the arrests of 18 suspects, the military said. Multi-National Forces-Iraq spokesman U.S. Navy Capt. Vic Beck said there were five sweeps conducted as part of "continued efforts to disrupt the al-Qaida networks operating in Iraq," CNN reported.

#5: A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol killed a civilian and wounded two policemen in Zayouna district in eastern Baghdad, police said.

#6: Meanwhile on Monday, the same source said two mortar shells fell on an industrial compound in the area of al-Uwayrij, south of Baghdad, leaving no casualties but causing severe damage in the facility.

#7: Around 6 p.m.(Sunday), a roadside bomb targeted a U.S. patrol in the Amil neighborhood near shopping center. No casualties reported.

#8: Police found two unidentified bodies in two Baghdad neighborhoods. The first was found in Sadr city in east Baghdad (Risafa bank) .While the second one was found in west Baghdad (Karkh bank) .

#9: Iraqis are once again facing days of power outages and queues hundreds of meters in length at petrol stations in parts of the capital, Baghdad, as well as in some of the country's provinces. The Iraqi electricity ministry has blamed the oil ministry for not providing sufficient fuel to run its generators. The oil ministry has blamed the electricity ministry for failing to provide its refineries with an uninterrupted power supply."Oil and gas pumping from Kirkuk fields to our northern and southern plants over the past two weeks has stopped and furthermore the decision on 4 January by Turkish power provider Kartet to stop exporting electricity to Iraq is also to blame," Aziz Sultan, electricity ministry spokesman, said. He added that sabotage attacks by militants had hampered efforts to distribute electricity. "Three bombs over the past two weeks have targeted the power lines that connect northern provinces with each other and with Baghdad," he said.

#10: Two road side bombs (2 bottles filled with explosive materials) exploded near al Qubbanchi mosque in Harthyah neighborhood south Baghdad around 1,00 pm. No casualties reported.

#11: Police found seven anonymous bodies in Baghdad today. Four bodies were found in Rusafa, the eastern side of Baghdad in the following neighborhoods (1 body in Zayuna, 1 body in New Baghdad, 1 body in Ma’amil and 1 body in Talbiyah). The three other bodies were found in Karkh, the western side of Baghdad in the following neighborhoods (2 bodies in Tobchi and 1 body in Doura). Police said that all the bodies were handcuffed, eye folded and shot dead.

#12: U.S. forces killed two gunmen and arrested 18 others during operations in central and northern Iraq, the U.S. military said.

Diyala Prv:
#1: On Sunday, a roadside bomb targeted a civilian car at Saad camp (east of Baquba) killing two people and injuring one. - On Sunday afternoon, gunmen killed a person in Muqdadiyah (north east of Baquba ) .

Gunmen destroyed with explosives Mecca al Mukarrama primary school and a house in al Malali village, part of Wajihiyah district east of Baquba city today afternoon. The gunmen burnt also al-Malali mosque.

#1: Clashes took place at Tahreer neighborhood in Baquba on Sunday between Awakening Council members and gunmen. One awakening council member was killed.

#1: Two policemen were wounded in an IED explosion that targeted their patrol in Muqdadiyah town east of Baquba city today afternoon.

#1: A suicide bomber killed 15 people and wounded 10 when he blew himself up at a funeral ceremony in the northern Iraqi city of Baiji today, a security official said. The attack is the latest in a spate of deadly bombings in Iraq's northern provinces, where the US military says al Qaeda militants have regrouped after being forced out of other areas. The bomber walked into a tent where residents were mourning the death of a relative of a provincial official.

#1: Two civilians were wounded in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack that targeted a police patrol in central Kirkuk on Monday, an official police source said. "The IED went off near an Iraqi police patrol in al-Matar street, close to the Police Academy in central Kirkuk, leaving two civilians wounded," the source, who declined to be named, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq – (VOI). "The blast did not cause any damage to the patrol," the source said, adding "the wounded were taken to the Kirkuk hospital for treatment."

#1: Two civilians were killed and nine others, including soldiers, were wounded when a car rigged with explosives went off near an Iraqi army patrol south of Mosul on Monday, police said. "A car bomb parked near al-Qiyara souk (market), (80 km) south of Mosul, went off near an Iraqi army patrol, killing two civilians and wounding nine others, including soldiers," Brig. Abdul-Kareem al-Juburi, the chief of the Ninewa police operations room, told Aswat al-Iraq – Voices of Iraq.

#2: A U.S. chopper killed two policemen and injured another one while planting a bomb in eastern Mosul, a source from the Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) said on Monday. "Two Iraqi policemen were killed and one Iraqi policeman was wounded during a routine Coalition Forces aerial reconnaissance in al-Zuhour neighborhood in eastern Mosul," Abdellatif Rayan, Advisor-Media Operations MNF-I, told Aswat al-Iraq - Voices of Iraq

Sulaimaniyah Prv:
#1: Gunmen attacked a house in Kalar village 140 kms south of Sulaimaniyah province yesterday night killing a 35 years old mother and her 13 years old daughter.

Al Anbar Prv:
#1: Gunmen killed four members of a U.S.-backed neighbourhood police patrol and wounded two others in an attack on a checkpoint near Falluja, 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad, police said. Two of the gunmen were killed when police at the checkpoint returned fire.

#2: A teenager holding a box of candy strode into a gathering of American-backed Sunni Arab tribal members near Fallujah and detonated an explosive belt, killing four people and wounding nine, members of the Issawi tribe said Sunday. It was the second major bomb attack to strike American allies in Anbar Province in two days.

#1: An explosion struck a NATO patrol vehicle outside a former Taliban town in southern Afghanistan, killing one British soldier and wounding five others, officials said Monday. The British Ministry of Defense said the soldiers' vehicle was hit by a mine Sunday northeast of Musa Qala, a town in northern Helmand province that had been held by the Taliban for 10 months until U.S., British and Afghan forces retook it last month. One soldier died at the scene and the five others were airlifted to NATO bases for medical treatment, the ministry said in a statement. The wounded soldiers were not in a life-threatening condition.

#2: A provincial head of Afghanistan's national reconciliation commission was killed by unidentified gunmen in the southern province of Zabul, an official said Monday. Unidentified armed men, who intercepted Qayyum Mujaddedi's car Sunday afternoon, shot him dead and abducted his driver and one of the guards, said Gulab Shah Alikhel, a spokesman of Zabul's provincial governor. Mujaddedi's body was found in Kakaran area near Qalat, the capital of Zabul, Alikhel said.

#3: Militants in southwestern Pakistan blew up three trucks carrying provisions for coalition forces in neighbouring Afghanistan, in the latest of several attacks on a key supply line for the troops, police said Monday. One of the drivers was slightly hurt in the overnight blasts in Chaman but two fuel tankers and a rig carrying a shipping container were completely destroyed, local police said.

#4: On Monday, militants fired rockets at a military post in the region straddling the Afghan border, army spokesman Maj.-Gen. Athar Abbas said. Government troops retaliated but there were no reports of casualties.

#5: In neighboring Helmand province, militants attacked a convoy of trucks carrying gravel to a NATO base, killing four drivers and two security guards, said Koka, an Afghan who goes by one name and owns the security company that employed the guards.

#6: In another incident, eight Taliban militants were killed and four others were injured during an operation in Musa Qala district of southern Helmand province, Afghan Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Casualty Reports:

Marine Joshua Frey was shot and hit by shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq, which left him with partial use of his left arm, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder that still haunts his nights. Now, more than two years after being wounded in Al-Fallujah, Frey has enrolled in the Wounded Marine Career Foundation program.

Sgt. Eric Edmundson suffered traumatic brain injury when he was hit by an improvised explosive device in Iraq in 2005. Afterwards, he suffered a heart attack, further injuring his brain. His family wasn't given much hope. We were told Eric was pretty much would be in a vegetative state the rest of his life. But, Eric didn't want to be there," said Eric's father, Ed Edmundson. With the support of his family and rehabilitation, Eric has come a long way. He's working on walking and speaking again.

Infantryman Pfc. Brad Thomas, 22, was wounded in combat Saturday and remained in serious condition at a U.S. military hospital in Germany on Sunday afternoon, a friend of his family said. He is being treated for a head wound sustained in the explosion of a roadside improvised explosive device near his tactical vehicle, said Philip Ford, a Thomas family friend speaking on their behalf.

Erik Schei, 23, is to learn how to walk again. In October 2005, Erik was a 21-year-old Army sergeant serving in Mosul, Iraq, as a machine-gunner with the Army’s 94th Engineer Battalion.
A sniper’s bullet pierced the right side of his helmet and passed through both frontal lobes of his brain. “They gave him zero chance of survival,” Erik’s father, Gordon Schei, said. “They said if he did survive, he would be a vegetable. They wanted us to pull the plug on him. But we dug deep. Erik uses a wheelchair and lives with his parents and 7-year-old sister in the Rio Rancho home his parents helped him purchase in August. The family moved from Taos to be closer to the VA hospital. He has a computer attached to his wheelchair, which often speaks for him. He activates it with his head. “We’re also teaching him to feed himself, which takes a lot of effort,” Christine Schei said. “His brain just seems to have forgotten which muscles to use.”